Abatement in the works for Argos Solar power

Jack Alvey from the Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA) requests 10-year tax abatement from the Argos Town Council for a new solar farm installation.
Ed Scherer-Berry
Staff Writer

ARGOS – Solar power will soon grace the grid of Argos electric customers, grafting the sun’s power onto other power sources used by IMPA (Indiana Municipal Power Agency), the contractor supplying power to Argos utility customers.
Jack Alvey of IMPA appeared before the Town Council at its Wednesday meeting to formally request ten-year tax abatement for its planned new solar farm. The installation, planned for property recently annexed and sold to IMPA by the town, should be in operation in a very few months, he reported. It will feature a field of connected solar panels constructed on a fixed-tilt (permanent angle) basis rather than the alternative single-power tracking system in which the panels swivel to follow the sun’s rays. He noted that the farm will have a 40-year lifespan, and that IMPA has requested nine tax abatements for new construction sites around the state, the other eight of which have been granted by local authorities. The Council voted to approve the tax abatement through resolution 2015-5 unanimously.
Utilities Superintendent Jim Burroughs reported that the city of Winamac is interested in buying the town’s old dump truck which is being replaced with a new unit this year. They have offered $17,000 for the truck. Council voted to accept the offer and complete the sale upon delivery of the new unit.
Patron Don Mahoney, during public comments, recommended that the town use the history of expenditures during various months and seasons of the year to develop an investment strategy for the town’s funds which are not immediately being used.
Patron Mark Umbaugh, husband of Town Council member Suzanne Umbaugh, asked when a permanent police chief would be hired. Council President Mark VanDerWeele said that it would be soon, and that the Council needed to give criteria for the position to the Police Commission, which actually hires the Chief. Umbaugh said that he thought the job description and qualifications were already in the employee handbook. He said that a timeline needed to be formulated by the next Town Council meeting.
Town Attorney Derek Jones reported a request for 2.4 acres north of a trailer park on Marshal Street to be rezoned B-1.
Council member George Null noted that the downtown painting/beautification project begins May 25th with the video store owned by Dustin Johnson. Chuck Calhoun, a critic of the painting project who has said that he feels the project does not go far enough, asked the Council when the Redevelopment Commission will meet. Null also reported that the grand opening of the Whitney Girton Photography Studio will be on Saturday, May 9, from 11:00 to 6:00.
It was reported that the Marshall County Commissioners want the wheel tax to go from $1.5 million to $2.2 million to fund increases in road paving materials. Council, in a recommend status only, took no action on this matter.
Superintendent Burroughs gave three quotes for paving which had been previously identified. The Council voted to accept the low bid of $41,960 from E & B Paving. He also requested permission to hire another apprentice employee, which Council approved 4-0. He mentioned that he would like to sit down and go over the utilities budget soon.
The Council passed ordinance 2015-5-Amendment to the Salary Ordinance to include a full-time park employee in the salary budget line. The Rules were suspended and it was passed on all three readings.
Council approved a request for a contribution to the library’s summer reading program. It approved $200 as it has done in the past. A request from the Argos School Corporation to place signs near the IMPA entrance signs to the town were approved 4-0.
Clerk-Treasurer Patty Jones requested use of the sewer pickup truck to pick up flowers for the town planters on Main Street. The request was approved. She also noted that the community garden will be more elaborate this year than last year. She presented claims totaling $137,825.63 which were approved for payment. Council took no action on a suggestion to increase per diem payments from $25.
Council member Null noted that the trees in front of the library and Lake City Bank are dead. He also reported that, upon investigation, volunteer firefighters such as himself are approved to serve on the Town Council, but may not be involved in budget and funding matters for the Fire Department.
President VanDerWeele noted that there were still three board openings: the Park Board, the Plan Commission, and the Marshall County Tourism Board.